VILNIUS - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has extended his condolences over the death of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius in Mariupol.
"On behalf of myself personally and the people of Ukraine, I would like to extend my deepest condolences for the murder of well-known film director Mantas Kvedaravicius in Mariupol by the Russian occupiers," his letter sent to Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda reads.
The letter was forwarded to BNS on Tuesday by the Ukrainian Embassy in Vilnius.
In the letter, Zelensky asked to convey his condolences to the artist's family, relatives and loved ones.
"I am convinced that Mantas Kvedaravicius, a distinguished son of the Lithuanian land, who chose a brave path to serve the Truth and Freedom of the Word, will live forever in our hearts," the Ukrainian president said.
Kvedaravicius' unique footage of Mariupol will remain as a world cinematographic achievement, he said.
Zelensky hopes that Kvedaravicius' life, artistic legacy and sacrifice will inspire others to protect the most important things of truth, freedom and justice.
"This is what the future of today's democratic and free Ukraine depends on, as well as the future of Europe as a whole," the letter reads.
Kvedaravicius was killed in the Russian-occupied part of Mariupol. His friend, Ukrainian journalist Albina Lvutina, said the filmmaker was captured by Russian troops and then killed, and that the body was simply dumped afterwards.
Born in 1976, Kvedaravicius made Barzakh, an award-winning documentary about war-torn Chechnya and its disappearing population, in 2011. In 2016, his documentary Mariupol was selected for the Berlin International Film Festival. Lvutina said it was said he never managed to make a sequel to this documentary.
In 2019, his first feature film Parthenon was selected for the Venice Film Festival's Film Critics' Week.